Global Refugee Forum

On 19 September 2016, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants was adopted at the UN summit on refugees and migrants. The declaration gave the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR the mandate to develop, in consultation with States and other stakeholders (including civil society and refugee organisations), a global compact on refugees to be adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2018.

The Compact sets four objectives:

  • relieve the pressure on host countries;
  • strengthen the autonomy of refugees;
  • broaden access to solutions in third countries;
  • promote conditions for a safe and dignified return to countries of origin.

As a follow-up mechanism, the Compact provides for a ministerial conference to be held every four years, bringing together all the partners (States, private sector, civil society, etc.) involved in its implementation. The first Global Refugee Forum, which took place in Geneva from 16 to 18 December 2019 was attended by more than 3,000 participants. Switzerland co-hosted the event with the UNHCR. Five other states were the co-organisers: Germany, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Turkey. The next forum, scheduled for 2023, will aim to follow up on the commitments made in 2019 and to formulate new ones.

The first Forum had two main goals:

  • first, commitments in the form of pledges and specific programmes to advance the objectives of the Compact;
  • second, to highlight key achievements and share best practices.

Switzerland made six pledges:

  1. multi-year funding for the UNHCR (125 million. 2019-2022);
  2. a new asylum procedure;
  3. an integration agenda;
  4. the resettlement programme 2020-2021;
  5. the creation in Geneva of the "Global Hub for Education in Emergencies";
  6. access to education.

It also made three joint commitments with UNHCR, IOC and ICRC respectively. In total, more than 770 pledges and programmes were presented.

SEM also shared three good practices:

  1. the pilot programme "Integration pre-apprenticeship and early language support";
  2. the cantonal integration programme (CIP);
  3. the Swiss programme for the promotion of linguistic integration (fide).

The Global Compact on Refugees provides for a High-Level Officials Meeting (HLOM) to be held two years after each Global Refugee Forum. The aim of the meeting is to take stock of the pledges announced at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum. In addition, the HLOM will help to expand support for refugees. Switzerland, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), opened the first HLOM in Geneva on 14 and 15 December 2021.

Last modification 25.11.2022

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